Golubtsi Recipe; A classic Ukrainian food - Голубцы

Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Our family loves these stuffed cabbage rolls. This step-by-step recipe makes it so easy! Absolutely delicious recipe for these cabbage rolls (golubtsi)
These stuffed cabbage rolls are the best I've tried! Cabbage rolls (golubtsi) are made with simple, inexpensive ingredients but are super delicious (and a freezer friendly meal!) My family loves these with sour cream and soft French bread.
Author: Natasha of
Skill Level: Medium
Cost to Make: $16-$20
Servings: 12 -16


  • 6 cups medium grain cooked white rice from 2 cups uncooked rice - instructions below
  • 2 Medium Cabbages
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 medium carrots grated (4 for meat mix, 2 for "Podliva" sauce)
  • 2 cups of your favorite mushroom marinara sauce
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp sour cream
  • 1 tsp Mrs. Dash or your favorite salt-free seasoning
  • Salt


How to prep the Rice and Cabbage

  1. Rinse 2 cups white rice and cook in 3 1/2 cups water with 2 Tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp salt. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed. Or do the same thing in a rice maker.
  2. Fill 2/3 of large soup pot with water. Bring to a boil. Add 1/2 Tbsp salt and 4 Tbsp vinegar.
  3. Peal and discard the top two leaves from each cabbage. Use a knife to cut out the core of each cabbage (see picture). Put first cabbage in water, cork down, for about 5 minutes, then rotate and continue cooking another 5-6 min. You will pull off leaves as they begin to soften. The leaves will cook faster if they are pulled apart. Remove the leaves to a platter to cool when they are done. You know they are done when they are soft and yellowish and larger leaves will turn a dull green. Repeat with the second cabbage, adding more water if needed. Reserve about 3-4 cups of water from the pot!

Stuffing/ Meat Mixture Prep

  1. Mix ground meats and rice together in a large bowl.
  2. Grate and saute 4 carrots in approximately 3 Tbsp oil and 1 Tbsp butter over med/high heat. Once they are soft, add 1 cup of mushroom marinara sauce and saute another minute.
  3. Add carrot mixture to rice and meat. Add 2 eggs and 1 Tbsp salt. Mix well.

Cutting & Stuffing Cooked Leaves:

  1. Large leaves: cut the leaves in half down the center removing the tough stem portion- you will end up with 2 leaves. Place 2 Tbsp meat mixture at the top of each leaf (or as much as you can fit - leaf sizes vary). Roll the leaf into a cone shape with the thicker part of the leaf at the base and stuff the wide part into the top. As you stuff your cabbage, arrange them either in the same pot you used to cook the cabbage or in a cast iron dutch oven.
  2. Small Leaves: slice off the raised surface of the tough center stem just to flatten the leaf and make it easier to roll. Fill each cabbage leaf with about 2 Tbsp meat mixture. Place the filling over the stem/ bottom portion. Roll like a burrito and stuff both ends in with fingers.

How to make Podliva (Sauce)

  1. Heat approx. 2 Tbsp of olive oil. Saute remanding 2 grated carrots with 1 tsp of Mrs. Dash. Stir until soft. Add 1 Tbsp sour cream and 1 cup of mushroom marinara sauce. Saute another minute and remove from heat.
  2. Pour Podliva over the Golubtsy and add enough reserved water to almost cover goloobtsi (2 1/2 to 3 cups).

There are 2 ways to Cook these:

  1. If using the pot, bring to a light boil, then cover and simmer 40 minutes over medium heat.
  2. If using a dutch oven (recommended method), cover and bake at 450 ° F for 20-25 minutes on the bottom third (one step below the center rack). When it bubbles, reduce heat to 350°F and bake 1 hour.